This robot named Tarzan looks nothing like its fictional namesake. Its comical movement is actually designed after sloths, but it’s is named after a fictional character who, contrary to a sloth, swung swinging energetically between trees. There is a similarity in intent, however. Jonathan Rogers, technology professor from Georgia Tech, designed the machine with carbon fibre arms to swing around on overhead wires.
The robot’s hands are 3D-printed grippers with sensors that can detect and grip the wire passing through them. It’s a sloth-like movement – energy-efficient and slow – and yet, the momentum required to swing forward and grab the cable is tricky.
The idea behind a suspended robot is to monitor crops and identify badly performing ones for farmers so that they can accordingly supply more water, pesticide or fertiliser.
According to IEEE Spectrum, Tarzan marks a departure from traditional ground robots or drones used in agriculture, and is said to be cost-effective (at least in the US). This adds to the growing number of bots and drones designed for research and defence purposes. There’s even a bat robot for rescue operations.
A German robotics company has created OctopusGripper, a bionic hand for a robot that is able to hold items using a combination of suckers and air. Not surprisingly, it is designed after an octopus’s tentacle. In 2015, a Boston-based robotics design company showed us a video of a robotic dog named Spot, which could withstand kicks without tipping over. It was initially rejected by the US Marines for ground warfare testing, but the project is being reconsidered. Few months later, the MIT released footage of a cheetah robot running and jumping over hurdles.
In Japan, robotics is used to create animatronic pets to provide companionship. The video below is of a furry robotic seal designed to accompany patients. It is also said to have increased interaction amongst them.